Guest Column - April 2009
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Multipurpose Flooring

Optimize Your Flooring

By Patricia Basileo

Flooring Safety for All

Important to any specifier, but particularly for multipurpose spaces, is the issue of safety. Sports facilities must ensure safety for athletes, as well as any training camp attendees or visiting athletic teams utilizing the space. Several questions should be considered:

Does the flooring have a non-slip surface?

Avoid the chance that the janitorial department will wax the floor to a high shine, which can increase the risk of slips and serious injuries. Specify a vinyl performance floor with a matte or satin slip-resistant surface to prevent falls, and ensure the manufacturer also provides a detailed maintenance schedule.

What are the installation procedures?

Correctly installing the flooring can mean the difference between the floor lasting years or just months. Consult a flooring professional who can assess the needs of the individual space and install the floor according to the manufacturer's recommended procedures to avoid general trip hazards, lumps, ripples and poorly installed joints.

What type of maintenance does the floor need?

Properly maintaining flooring is essential for its long life. Permanent vinyl flooring installation offers impermeable welded seams to waterproof and seal the floor. Some vinyl floors also have soil-resistant surfaces for easy cleaning and hygienic properties.

A common misconception is that a well-designed sports floor will suit the needs of an array of dance and other physical activities, but there are two intrinsic differences from a high-performance floor: the sprung subfloor's construction and the performance surface. Athletic flooring is designed for indoor sports players who can tolerate a more rigid flooring solution than those utilizing the floor for dance rehearsal or everyday activities because they have the luxury of performing with cushioned athletic footwear, which helps guard against lower limb problems such as tendinitis, "shin splints," knee pain and ankle strain that can require weeks of physical therapy and recovery time to rectify. Unlike other types of shoes worn for everyday use or performing arts, the rubber soles of athletic shoes typically safeguard players from floors that can otherwise be hazardous, such as hard-lacquered wood flooring. Athletes share the concern for the risk of slipping and falling, and therefore for multipurpose performance surfaces, another crucial quality is the floor's slip-resistance.

The options are similar for each type of flooring, but the essential question remains the same: Is this the best flooring available for these specifications? Multipurpose flooring must ensure safety, quality and lasting aesthetics.


Since joining American Harlequin more than 12 years ago, Patricia Basileo, vice president and general manager, has played a vital role providing strategic direction and support, and significantly growing the company's sales. For more information, visit